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Ellen Eisenberg

Dwight & Margaret Lear Professor of American History

Headshot of Ellen Eisenberg

Contact Information

Salem Campus

Eaton 216
900 State Street
Salem  Oregon  97301
503-375-6944 (Fax)


  • PhD, History, University of Pennsylvania
  • BA, American Studies, Carleton College

Research and Teaching

Ellen Eisenberg has taught in the History Department since 1990, and holds the Dwight and Margaret Lear Chair in American History. She teaches courses on American history since the Civil War, many of which focus on race and ethnicity, as well as several seminars in which students conduct original archival research. Several of her courses feature student engagement with local historical societies and museums that are working toward presenting more diverse and inclusive histories. Many of her courses serve as electives for the American Ethnic Studies program.

Ellen Eisenberg's research centers on the history of American immigrant and ethnic communities, particularly American Jewish communities. Since the mid-1990s, she has focused on Jews in the Pacific West, with an emphasis on relationships between Jews and other minority ethnic groups. She has written four monographs on Jews in the West, has published a number of articles and book chapters, and recently edited an anthology titled Jewish Identities in the American West. The First to Cry Down Injustice? Western Jews and Japanese Removal during WWII (2008), was a National Jewish Book Award finalist.


After the Civil War: Reconstruction, Jim Crow & the Lost Cause

American Immigration History

African American History, 1865-present

Topics in American History, 1865-present

History in the Archives

American Jewish History

History Workshop: Race and Ethnicity in the American West

Diversifying Oregon Histories

Books — Edited and Authored

Jewish Identities in the American West (2022)

The Jewish Oregon Story, 1950-2010 (2016)

Embracing a Western Identity: Jewish Oregonians 1849-1950 (2015)

Jews of the Pacific Coast: Reinventing Community on America's Edge (co-authored with Ava Kahn and Bill Toll, 2010)

The First to Cry Down Injustice? Western Jews and Japanese Removal during WWII (2008)

Jewish Agricultural Colonies in New Jersey, 1882-1920 (1995)

Book Chapters

“State of the Field: Jews and Others,” invited essay for American Jewish History 102(2), April, 2018, pp. 283-302.

“Cultivating Jewish Farmers in the United States and Argentina,” in Transnational Traditions: New Perspectives on American Jewish History, (2014).

“Looking for Zalman: Making Historical Scholarship Visible to Undergraduates,” The History Teacher 38(3), May, 2005.

“Civil Rights and Japanese American Incarceration,” in California Jews, (2003).

“'As Truly American as Your Son’—Voicing Opposition to Internment in Three West Coast Cities,” Oregon Historical Quarterly, Winter, 2003.

“From Cooperative Farming to Urban Leadership,” in Jewish Life in the American West, (2004).

Willamette University

History Department

Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.